Moms to See in the 803 :: Reshma Lustman and Jessica Henry

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I’m not sure about you, but I enjoy a good jar of jam, when I can get it. I love to have it on toast, bagels, pancakes, and more! And, I’m not talking about store-bought jam. I’m talking about real, homemade, takes hours to make, jam. You know, the good stuff!

If you like jam as much as I do, you’re going to love this post! 

Today, Columbia Mom is introducing you to Resh and Jess, the makers of Sakhar Jams.

From picking fresh fruit to planning deliveries, you’ll find these two ladies together all the time. They currently drop about 70-90 small-batch jars of unique homemade flavors twice a month via an email and social media post. You better make sure you get a heads up on the drop because they routinely sell out in under an hour!

I learned about Sakhar Jams just prior to their first official batch, and I am now addicted. My personal favorites include royal blackberry, pineapple rum, and drunken fig. Yes, some are truly spirited artisanal jams. 

But I’m not just addicted to their jams. I’m addicted to them. I love Resh and Jess’ behind-the-scenes social media shares, and their tips on baking. Like some sort of reality television show, I admit to stalking their Instagram stories. I’m enthralled with their friendship and a little jealous because my best friend currently lives a thousand miles away.

So imagine my joy when Resh and Jess agreed to give me an interview for Columbia Mom!  Just like their Insta stories, they were authentic to the core. Resh and Jess were also very open and honest stating that, “Strength comes in vulnerability.” And I couldn’t agree more. 

So, without any further ado, here’s our Q&A with Sakhar Jams, just for you.

How did the two of you meet?

We actually live on the same street. Resh moved onto the street and was here four years before we finally met. We had children around the same age, and a mutual friend told Jess about Resh. Jess came to Resh’s house one day with Challah and chicken soup – and Resh fell in love with her Challah. The rest is history!

What prompted jam making and making a business of it? Do you remember those first conversations?

There is a real emotional story here for both of us. Resh was in therapy dealing with suicide and depression. Her therapist told her to find a coping mechanism that wasn’t drinking. She started picking fruit in May (visited a blueberry farm) and made a basic jam. Then, she created her first original recipe, Strawberry Prosecco. She made so much jam that she had to give it away and had people coming back asking her to buy it. 
 
At the same time, Jess had been living in Charleston for a couple years and was at the end of her marriage. In June, Jess moved back to her house in Columbia. Resh proposed a jam business because of the feedback she was receiving (and her own inability to keep up).  Newly separated, Jessica thought this was brilliant. Jess had seen her aunts and her mother canning fresh fruit and vegetables growing up, and she had helped many times. Her childhood was much more organic than Resh’s city roots in Mumbai.
 
Resh wanted to quit her very stressful job as a school administrator due to COVID, and Jess needed to get back on her feet again. And so, Sakhar Jams was born!
 
Resh remembers working with Jess on canning for the first time together, and a jar exploded in the water bath. Oh, the laughter that day! We knew we had a very precious wonderful thing that we could do together to build our futures!

How much time do y’all really spend together?

Uhmm … we are unable to quantify this. Our children are best friends too (way before Sakhar was even a thing). We help each other cook meals, our children have sleepovers, we run deliveries, make jam, do best friend stuff … and since COVID, we have been able to sustain our mental health better by being in this bubble. 

Do you have similar or contrasting personalities? How do you deal with conflict?

We have different personalities. Conflict management goes beyond just business relations for us. Because our lives are so deeply rooted with each other, kids and all, we try our best to work through all our issues. Both of us are in therapy and that helps us immensely to maintain a good steady relationship. Jess is calm, organized, mellow, and steady. Resh is boisterous, happy-go-lucky, bossy, and consistent. 
 
We do share many traits as well; the biggest being our generosity and kindness through food, which the core of our business. We bake equally and share our bakes with Columbia/our friends because it brings us joy. 
 
When we argue (which happens practically every other day) we give each other space, and then come back and have a conversation about how to manage expectations. It’s hard but we make it work. We want to succeed and not lose the love we have for one another. Our kids also depend on our relationship, so conflict resolution is important all around.
 
We have also worked to identify where our strengths are, and we play to those in the way we organize handling the different demands of our business.

What motivates you? Is there a bigger dream for SAKHAR?

Our biggest motivators are ourselves. We want to be successful powerhouses in Columbia. We want to stay community-focused and community strong. Sharing food through sweetness is basically why we named our jam business Sakhar, which means sugar in Marathi.
 
We are profitable enough to pour our efforts back into growing our business. Small business expenses are huge but we are working really hard to ensure that we have what it takes to continuously move us to the next level. We hope to apply for some grants that will enable us to see the bigger picture of Sakhar. Our goal is financial independence so we can spend more time with our families. And, as of right now, our hope is that you see Sakhar in local Columbia Food Markets soon. 
 
Thank you to Resh and Jess for taking the time to sit down with us and chat about Sakhar! Be sure to check them out on both Instagram and Facebook, as well as their website, to get your own Sakhar jam!
 

Moms to See in the 803 is a series highlighting local moms who are making a difference in our community or in business. Want to tell us about an inspiring mom who is doing something great? Send us an email!

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Melanie McGehee never knew she wanted to be a mom. Even marriage caught her somewhat by surprise, in spite of the fact that she met husband Andy through a matchmaking service. She thanked eharmony by writing about that experience for an anthology, A Cup of Comfort for Women in Love. Almost two years to the day after marrying him, she stared at two pink lines and wonder aloud, “Is this okay?” His response, “Kind of late to be asking that now.” It was a bit late – in life. But at the advanced maternal age of 35, she delivered by surprise at 35 weeks and an emergency C-section, a healthy bay boy. Ian, an only child like herself, is ten years old and unlike any of the children Melanie has tutored, substitute taught, or led in a variety of church activities. Together with him, Melanie has discovered Thomas, SpongeBob, youtube tech channels, Lemony Snicket, Kate DiCamillo, shirts with no tags, and tooth powder. You can follow Melanie’s personal adventures and her love of children and teaching at beingmissmelanie.

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